Absentee Management

By Trudy Wischemann

“It sounds like the ship of state is being driven into the shoals again,” said my astute other half, listening with 10% of his attention to my breakfast diatribe about Lindsay’s city manager. That 10% is enough, of course, since it’s the same old song, 99th verse.

I’d like to sing a different song. I hope there will be some staff changes soon so that I can. We don’t need 100 verses.

It isn’t just the city manager, of course. It’s the city management, the manager and his “team,” including the city attorney and some of the council members. I don’t know what glue holds them together. I don’t know how much evidence of failure it will take to generate the much-needed mutiny to turn this ship around. Seems to me we’re already aground…

But no, there’s no end to Captain Ahab’s Insanity. Let’s just keep plowing toward the brink. Let’s see if somebody else, like an outside flea market operator, can do better at running the Friday Night Market. Why not? 

If you stick with me, in a paragraph or two I’ll tell you why not.

At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, the council will have decided whether or not to pass the resolution presented to them granting the city manager the “authority to negotiate and execute a contract with Jimora Enterprises for Friday Night Market operations.” Contrary to what the Porterville Recorder reported in Saturday’s paper, they could choose another operator, such as the Lindsay Chamber of Commerce which developed the market 14 years ago and has run it successfully ever since. They could choose not to have the Friday Night Market at all if they want to. But the staff resolution railroading the choice to the council, bathed in the half-truth of “transparency” they say they created with the RFP process, is continuing evidence of the chronic dysfunctionality of our city administration.

The pretense of using “a more transparent decision-making process” by issuing an RFP is hilarious. These people could no more be transparent than fly, because then we’d see what they’re doing! Like “borrowing” (permanently!) money we residents paid to keep our water/sewer system and streets maintained—the basic infrastructure we need to call ourselves a city! That’s kindergarten city management—the first priority. But no. We’ve got to keep the Titanic afloat, or else their resumes are going to have a dark blotch, and maybe they’ll discover there’s a hole in their pockets. So let’s just borrow a little here and there from the poor people in town who sometimes don’t sleep well at night, trying to figure out how to pay the water bill….

Sorry. I think that was the 22nd verse. 

You don’t get more transparent by adding more layers to the process, like farming out the evaluation of the proposals to unnamed economic development staff in the cities of Tulare and Porterville. You don’t serve the needs of the public to know by adding more layers to the labyrinth and more players hiding in the closet. 

We don’t even know who “Jimora Enterprises” is. If they’re the people who attended the non-mandatory bidders conference, then they’re the folks who run the Selma Flea Market. The only other attender (according to Mercy Herrera, who attended on behalf of the Chamber with Virginia Loya,) was Alfredo from McDermont. Now I don’t know Alfredo from Adam, much less Hugo Flores (the name given for as the third applicant in the agenda packet), so I’m not saying who the third applicant was. I just know it’s really good that the winner wasn’t from McDermont, or they’d have a revolution on their hands.

So let’s just say it’s a good thing they didn’t make that mistake. Let’s even give them an inch of credit for choosing someone (else) with experience (for a change.) What’s wrong with the folks from Selma being given the opportunity to run the Friday Night Market, taking away that enterprise from the Lindsay Chamber?

It’s what happens with the money, Honey. If there’s any profits to be made from running this thing successfully (after paying the City its tithe), those profits will leave the City of Lindsay and get spent in Selma. If there aren’t any profits to be made, then Jimora Enterprises is quite likely to pack its bags and go home, leaving the City without its golden egg or the goose that laid it. And in the meantime, the Lindsay Chamber of Commerce, which is a not-for-profit enterprise established to serve the business community of our town, will either collapse or find some other means to raise funds for its programs.

Our city manager and his affiliates are acting like absentee landlords. They have the mentality of absentee landlords, not community members acting on behalf of the community. We need to divest them of their access to our resources. We need to remove their hands from the helm. 

Trudy Wischemann is a disgusted observer dedicated to Lindsay’s liberation. You can send her your revolutionary thoughts c/o P.O. Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247 or visit www.trudysnotesfromhome.blogspot.com and leave a comment there.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.

Start typing and press Enter to search